Canadians clear the air - Embrace clean burning wood appliances
A new federal government survey reveals efficient woodstoves are winning the hearts of Canadians despite the traditional appeal of open fireplaces.
The study*, conducted by TNS Canadian Facts for the Hearth Patio and Barbecue Association of Canada (www.hpbacanada.org) on behalf of Environment Canada, questioned ten thousand Canadian householders about their use of wood burning fireplaces and wood stoves, as well as wood burning furnaces.
According to the study, personal household use of new technology fireplaces has increased a whopping 360% since 1997 in Canada!
While advanced heating fireplaces have been available to the public for over 20 years, it hasn’t been an easy ride for the industry. Sales suffered throughout the 1990s when home builders, buyers and renovators were hesitant. By 1997, only 77,000 had been installed in Canadian homes. Today, however, there are more than 350,000 in use, making them a mainstream housing trend.
To an untrained eye, new advanced fireplaces look much like other fireplaces. There is, however, a very unique system inside that burns wood more completely and extracts more heat than its competitors.
Hundreds of thousands of Canadians benefited from the regulatory action taken by the U.S. government almost twenty years ago. When the EPA ruled that, by 1988, wood stoves would have to meet smoke emission limits, stove manufacturers got to work developing the new technologies, including a number of Canadian companies. These Canadian companies were so successful, their wood stoves are now among the most popular south of the border.
The new technologies were promptly adapted to the venerable fireplace, creating a new product category: the home heating fireplace. Using high performance ceramic glass that is safe and always stays clean, these fireplaces provide great visual entertainment as you sit back and warm yourself.
Following the development of the clean burning technology, other types of wood burning appliances - woodstoves and fireplace inserts - quickly adapted as well. Consumer demand was amazing. In 1997, almost 200,000 advanced technology wood stoves were sold. By the spring of 2006, that number jumped to 655,000. This represents a 228% increase in just nine years!
It’s the same story with fireplace inserts, which are, in effect, wood stoves modified to fit into existing brick or stone fireplaces. EPA certified inserts climbed from 31,000 to an impressive 106,000 in 2006, a 341% increase.
The Canadian government has said they intend to follow the U.S. by mandating clean wood burning technologies, but have yet to act. Currently, British Columbia is the only province with EPA-style regulations.
As these latest survey results make clear, a lot more savvy consumers have cut through the smoke and mirrors and chosen the more efficient stoves, inserts and fireplaces. The fact is that the new stoves are not that much more expensive than the old clunkers, and usually have more attractive and convenient features that make them more appealing. continued...
A new stove or fireplace insert makes a good investment, considering typical lifespan can extend three decades and it can help a family to save on its heating bills every one of those years.
Tex McLeod is Manager of the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association of Canada
* The Residential Fuelwood Combustion Survey was conducted as part of the spring 2006 mailing of TNS Canadian Facts’ quarterly "Multi-Q" omnibus mail survey. It was conducted nationally among all of the TNSD Canadian Facts’ Canadian Family Opinion households. Some 9,588 questionnaires were returned and processed. Survey results on a sample of 9,588 are considered accurate to one percentage point, 19 times out of 20.
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